We’ve all heard the famous phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and it’s true. At times one can spot valuable items in a dumpster left by a moving tenant. One recent incident saw a dumpster diver’s expedition become a garbage truck nightmare.
Let’s explore the details of the news with the Los Angeles trash truck lawyers at Ehline Law and our personal injury attorneys.
On September 26, 2022, a 47-year-old woman ended up in a garbage truck and suffered injuries during her dumpster diving expedition.
According to an Odessa police report, a woman was digging through a garbage dumpster at about 6 AM on the 500 block of West 42nd when a garbage disposal vehicle picked up the dumpster and emptied it in the back.
The woman called the police 25 minutes later to explain her situation.
However, the law enforcement officers took 2 hours to find the woman as it was difficult to track her without much information.
Someone saw the woman’s body in the landfill dumpster and reported the incident on Facebook.
The social media content caused a stir online, as many believed the woman to be dead.
Odessa Fire Rescue Chief John Alvarez was the first to arrive at the landfill, where the dumpster eventually ended.
According to Alvarez, the woman suffered minor head and back injuries when thrown into the garbage truck.
Technically, dumpster diving is legal in all 50 states as long as it is not on private property. However, checking your city ordinances before embarking on a dumpster diving expedition is crucial.
In the 1988 State of California vs. Greenwood case, the Supreme Court ruled that it is legal to search the trash as long as it does not interfere with city ordinances.
Trash on the curb becomes “public domain,” which means the Fourth Amendment does not apply. Anyone can then rummage through it without breaking any violations unless the city ordinance prohibits dumpster diving.
The main question is, “can the woman recover compensation from the City of Odessa for her injuries?”
Since the incident occurred in Odessa, the woman cannot recover compensation from the government agency for her injuries, as dumpster diving violates the city ordinance and is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.
If you suffered injuries due to a government agency’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation, as you may qualify for compensation.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.